This is Liam Reddox. He had a very nice season and he’s having an even better off-season. For a prospect who is in the middle area of the depth charts to win a big league job, several players must get out of the way and the dominoes need to fall in a way that doesn’t allow the team to find more proven, experienced stopgap replacements.
Reddox did it all in the AHL in 07-08.PP, PK, checking line, scoring line, did it well across the board. Reddox went 65gp, 16-28-44, +10 for the season and he finished up at a point-per-game pace.
Coach Buchberger gushed about him and Kevin Prendergast said nice things too. “Liam finally understood towards the end of [last] year that it wasn’t the points that were important but reliability; if you’re reliable you get more ice time and that’s what he’s done this year. Even in his game with the Oilers he was reliable. He got the puck out and almost scored on the first shift of the game. He’s got confidence and Kelly’s showed a lot of confidence in him this year.”
Even with that, Reddox was so far down the depth chart entering the summer of 2008 that it would have been almost impossible for him to make the roster out of camp. Before the player movement got rolling in June, the depth chart looked like this at the NHL level:
- Dustin Penner
- Andrew Cogliano
- Raffi Torres
- Ethan Moreau
- Curtis Glencross
- Rob Schremp
- Liam Reddox
- Slava Trukhno
- JF Jacques (injured)
- Bryan Lerg
- Tim Sestito
Since then, the Oilers have acquired Erik Cole and Ryan Potulny, plus said goodbye to Raffi Torres and Curtis Glencross. Two of the locks for a roster spot leave, one lock returns. Reddox moves up the depth chart. Add in Ethan Moreau’s injury concerns and the fact that the player who is clearly on the same level as Reddox isn’t really an option should Moreau go down, and it’s looking pretty good for the kid. Even the extra forward they acquired (Potulny) is more shooter than energy guy with a history of penalty killing or an assistant coach in his corner.
Here, let’s list the 4 locks at left wing with their possible replacements in brackets:
- Cole (no one, really)
- Penner (ditto)
- Cogliano (Schremp, Potulny, Trukhno, Lerg)
- Moreau (Reddox, Jacques-injured, Sestito)
I think Reddox is in a nice position now. Oh sure, they may play Brodziak or Pouliot or even Stortini out of position if Moreau gets injured, but the point is Reddox is in the mix. Schremp’s competition for playing time should Cogliano (or someone from that line) slump is much stronger, in fact Potulny has some things that make him a stronger bet for the roster (experience, waivers) than either Schremp or Reddox.
The organization likes him, his AHL coach is moving up to the big club and the guy who is in front of him on the depth chart has played 20% of the schedule the last two seasons.